Ingredients Natural Beauty Brands

Modern Beauty, Ancient Oil: LA BELLA FIGURA

August 31, 2011
la bella figura

One of the best parts of being an eco beauty editor is when you’re introduced to passionate people who care deeply about not only the quality of their beauty products, but also how each ingredient is sourced and how these combine to benefit the skin. I like to call it “passion before profit”.

Two women who definitely fall into the “passion before profit” category are Victoria Fantauzzi and Karen King, who through their mutual love of the Mediterranean, came together to create La Bella Figura, a new line of eco beauty essentials based on argan oil, from the ancient argan trees found in Morocco.

They extensively researched the newest and latest products, but were surprised to find cosmetics “loaded with petrochemicals and harmful toxins”.

It was through this research that Victoria and Karen felt inspired to re-educate women about cosmetics and create healthy, non-toxic skincare products with beneficial ingredients that truly work. These include Moroccan Face Gold, Tesoro Mediterranean Blend, Decouverte Under Eye Repair Serum, Bohemian Verde Hair Elixir and La Curacio Lip Treatment.

Your skin is one of your most important organs, and its daily care should be treated responsibly.

“We realize that many people have made lifestyle changes to live healthier more productive lives. From converting your home to an organic, clean living space to becoming a vegetarian, the thoughtful decision to reconnect to whole, fresh and responsibly produced food is an important one. We seek out organic growers, local farmers markets and grocery stores that commit to products that are free from chemicals and toxins,” Victoria says.

“We were shocked to learn how many toxins are present in our everyday rituals such as the cleansing of our skin. Your skin is one of your most important organs, and its daily care should be treated responsibly. Why invest in your health by eating organically or investing in sustainable practices only to buy a face moisturizer loaded with preservatives.”

The women carefully choose ingredients based on their effectiveness as well as their sustainability and ecological footprint.

“We take great care to be as informed as possible about our ingredients and can confidently offer some of the best products on the market now,” Karen says.

“We work hard to create our healing formulations from pure plant power and can ensure our products are always, chemical, toxin, paraben and silicone free. All of our products are handcrafted, well researched formulations that come from the most sustainable and fair sources in the cosmetic industry today.”

My absolute favorites from this special range? The gorgeous Moroccan Face Gold for its luxurious feel on the skin and powerful moisturizing properties; and the La Curacio Lip Treatment: it’s light on your lips, yet deeply hydrating. A little also goes a very long way.

I caught up with Victoria to find out more…

What attracted you to argan oil?

I first read about argan oil in a magazine and decided to research it as the article mentioned argan oil came from ancient argan trees endemic to Morocco that have survived thousands of years. I quickly learned that the Berber people of Morocco have been using argan oil for centuries in medicine, culinary use and of course as a beauty treatment.

How is it sourced?

The process of extraction are very laborious for the Berber women. In ancient times they waited for goats who jumped onto the argan trees and ate the kernels to naturally pass the center of the argan kernel, which was collected and allowed to dry in the sun. This caused the kernel to produce the oil and it was pressed for final use and consumption. Nowadays, it is more sanitary and Berber women collect the kernels from the trees, crack them by hand on a stone, dry and hand press between thin, round stone discs that press the oil out. More modern cooperatives use machines, but many communities prefer this old fashioned method of extraction.

Why is fair trade important to you?

I was so impressed with the hard work to produce the oil, but mostly that the Berber women who were never allowed to work in their communities were now being revealed as great contributors to their communities. With money from their sales they reinvest in their communities and have been able to help provide for their families and send their daughters to school!

Of course with this knowledge it made fair trade an absolute must for us. Having been lucky enought to travel the world I feel it is imperative to be a part of the solution of many of our united world issues and supporting farmers and producers with fair trade wages and sustainable ingredients is the right thing to do.

How does argan oil work specifically? What results can people expect?

I love argan oil because of its high Vitamin E content and beneficial plant sterols. Unlike other oils, argan has the ability to penetrate the epidermis and help to nourish skin from within as well as help control sebum production. An oil that helps fight oily skin! It is so light and non greasy. It is also very effective in treating skin disorders such as eczema, psoriasis and sensitive skin.

Because it is pure and natural I also discovered it suited my sister who battled lupus and suffered from chemical sensitivities. With our argan based products she has been able to take good care of her skin and not suffer additional problems that conventional products caused her. For her I make a special blend, argan with a few drops of pure rose otto essential oil and she feels like she has the best product on the market and certainly an element of luxury is attached with the rare qualities and exotic background of the oil.

My absolute favorites from this special range? The gorgeous Moroccan Face Gold for its luxurious feel on the skin and powerful moisturizing properties; and the La Curacio Lip Treatment: it’s light on your lips, yet deeply hydrating. A little also goes a very long way.

What are your plans for La Bella Figura?

Karen, my business partner and I are hoping to expand the line by Christmas. We have a gentle face wash (with argan oil, of course) and a moisturizer in product development as well as an organic perfume in the works. We would love to continue our work with argan oil, but also with other rare plant oils and extracts, like barbary fig seed oil and andiroba oil from Brazil.

Karen and I both believe our love of nature has contributed to going back to basics to discover plant treatments that work. My Grandmother had an innate ability to heal from nature and I developed that passion from her.

Why La Bella Figura?

We named our company La Bella Figura because Italians have a philosophy that we admire and covet, which is to appreciate quality in everything you do. La Bella Figura is a way of life for Italians and we love the Mediterranean very much.

What are your favorite products in the range and why?

My favorite product is TESORO-Mediterranean blend. The six unique essential oils in this product keep my skin clear and smells incredible. It makes me happy every day and night that I use it. Karen loves DECOUVERTE under eye repair serum because it keeps her from having dark under eye circles (which I don’t think she has, but she claims she always has)! We are so excited about our little boutique line and are now being noticed by wonderful folks like Sophie Uliano of Gorgeously Green, EcoSalon and some California celebrities using our products.

Ingredients you’ll find in the La Bella Figura range:

Certified Organic Fair Trade Argan (Argania Spinosa) Kernel Oil
Antioxidant rich argan oil nourishes skin while providing pure hydration and delivering free radical-reducing protection. Lightweight and pure, argan oil is rich in phenols and delivers smooth, clear and glowing skin in rapid time.

Certified Organic Fair Trade Barbary Fig (Opuntia Ficus Indica)Seed Oil
Introducing the latest in the anti-aging revolution. Thanks to its high concentration of natural vitamin E and omega 6, the oil from the barbary seed is a powerful fighter in repairing cellular damage and protecting skin from harmful environmental stressors. Precious and rare, the extraction of the oil is cold pressed and comes from 100 percent organic barbary fig farms. This is truly an extraordinary healing oil that aids in reducing inflammation and calms irritation while softening and deeply nourishing the skin.

Organic Pumpkin (Cucurbita Pepo) Seed Oil
Full of vitamins B, A, K and E, pumpkin seed oil is loaded with minerals, making it a nutrient-rich and vital oil. Its emollient properties help the skin to retain moisture and treat dull, dry hair and nails.

Certified Organic Tamanu (Calophyllum Inophyllum) Oil
Tamanu oil is native to Southeast Asia, and it has been used in lieu of antibiotics to treat complicated skin disorders and burns. It has antiseptic qualities that reveal it to be one of nature’s pure medicinal gifts. Green in color with a pleasant maple scent, tamanu oil is exceptionally effective in treating acne and eczema and in healing dry, chapped skin while reducing the appearance of scarring.

Certified Organic Extra Virgin Olive (Olea Europaea) Oil
The “star” of the Mediterranean, olive oil has been used for centuries to heal and treat wounds and for its extraordinary cosmetic uses. Italian women use pure olive oil to bolster shine to hair and as treatment for dry lips. Fruity and light, olive oil is full of antioxidants and phenols known their heart-healthy benefits. Olive oil is also one of the best moisturizers in the world and has been used in shampoos, skincare and soaps to enrich these products.

Certified Organic Beeswax (Cera Alba)
Beeswax is a wonderful formulation for a wide range of cosmetic products that require an emollient foundation. Best used for salves, lotions, creams and lip treatments, organic beeswax is a natural alternative to chemical-laden waxes.

Certified Organic Fair Trade Shea Butter (Butryrosperum Parkii)
Extracted from shea nuts, shea butter is ideal for cosmetics as it repairs dry, cracked skin and leaves a protective barrier. Used in everything from face creams to rich, hydrating shampoos, it is effective as a deep moisturizer.

Certified Organic Bergamot (Citrus Bergamia) Essential Oil
Native to Italy, bergamot essential oil is a sweet and lemony oil used in aromatherapy as a relaxant to calm nerves, relive stress and reduce anxiety. On the skin, it is known for its beneficial calming effect, helping to reduce inflammation and heal problem-prone skin.

Certified Organic Fennel (Foeniculum Vulgare Dulce) Seed Oil
Fennel has a pleasant licorice scent that calms the senses and increases stimulation in new cell growth and helps to tone and cleanse the skin. It is grown all over the world and is favored in Italian cooking as a digestive.

Certified Organic Grapefruit (Citrus Grandis) Essential Oil
With floral and citrus notes, grapefruit oil is uplifting and pleasant. Rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, it helps fight radicals that cause signs of aging. Grapefruit oil has natural antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that protect the skin from infection and help to purify acne-prone skin.

Certified Organic Chamomile (Anthemis Noblis) Oil
Warm, spicy and sweet, chamomile is effective as a natural anti-inflammatory and has been known to calm stressed skin and significantly improve tone when in crisis.

Certified Organic Lemon (Citrus Medica Limonum) Oil
Bright and fresh with a wonderful citrus scent, lemon oil has many uses and is beneficial as an astringent, clarifier and detoxifier.

Wild Crafted Neroli (Citrus Aurantium Amara) Oil
Floral with herbaceous and citrus notes, neroli is a delicate fragrance with powerful, calming effects on the senses. It is also used as a natural toner because of its antispetic properties.

Fair-Trade, Shade-Grown Coffee Bean (Coffea Arabica) Oil
Cold pressed from green Brazilian coffee beans, the oil is light and crisp with a fresh herbaceous scent. Coffee oil is loaded in phytosterols, which promote moisture retention and are perfect to use in creams and serums. Coffee oil also contains high levels of antioxidants and essential fatty acids and works to smooth fine lines and increase elasticity.

Organic Rose Hip (Rosa Rubiginosa) Seed Oil
Rose hip seed oil is extracted from the seeds of the rose plant and is truly rare in its beneficial properties. Rose hip seed oil contains plant derived vitamin A, which is a natural retinol with incredible benefits to promote cell regeneration. Rich in linoleic and linolenic acids, it is particularly useful in delivering nutrients to the skin that successfully treats UV damage, scarring, stretch marks, wrinkles and premature aging.

Wild-Crafted Tomato (Solanum Lycopersicum) Seed Oil
Cold pressed from the seeds of the tomato, the oil has numerous nutritive benefits, namely its lycopene and carotene components. Tomato seed oil is also high in potassium and amino acids, which help with the treatment of harmful environmental stressors and overexposure to UV rays. Tomato seed oil is fantastic in treating damaged, dry skin.

Wild-Crafted Blue Tansy (Tanacetum Anumm) Flower Oil
Wild grown with notes of blueberries and pineapples and naturally vivid blue, this oil is one of a kind. Naturally derived azulene is the component responsible for the color as well as being an anti-inflammatory agent used in the healing of burns and scarring. Much like chamomile, blue tansy is a gentle essential oil used to calm sensitive skin and treat problem-prone types.

Wild-Crafted Rose Otto (Rose Damascena) Flower Oil
Rose Otto is considered the most therapeutic of the rose oils and the creme de la creme in essential oils. Sweet, rich and floral, rose otto is most often used in skin creams and lotions for its well known feminine scent; however, it is highly antiviral and also used to target wrinkles, fine lines and dry skin. Rose oil can be used on most skin types and is extremely versatile.

Organic Helichrysum (Helichrysum Italicum) Oil
Helichrysum is also sometimes referred to as Everlasting or Immortelle and has been used to improve skin conditions and reduce inflammation. It also contains some of the same properties of ginger oil and has been used to reduce scar tissue, making it an effective treatment for acne and wound healing. Helichrysum has a bright, peppery scent that is soothing and uplifting.

Organic Palmarosa (Cymbopogon Martinii) Oil
Palmarosa has a similar scent to that of lemongrass with a note of geranium that makes it pleasing to the senses. It is also quite effective in balancing oil production and stimulating new cell growth. Palmarosa is wonderful for treating skin issues and assisting as a natural antibacterial for acneic skin.

Organic Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia) Oil
Second to rose as the most recognized scents, lavender is sweet, floral and clean. Lavender has been used for many centuries for healing as well as in perfumes, soaps, and cleaning agents. A mild antiseptic, lavender is excellent for acne-prone skin and controlling sebum production.

Organic Ginger (Zingiber Officinalis) Oil
Sri Lanka
Fresh, spicy, and warm, ginger oil has a stimulating effect on the senses. It has been used to improve circulation, and it is known as a healing and calming oil. Ginger oil is effective and beneficial in skin treatments and used worldwide for its healing power and beloved scent.

Organic Sweet Orange (Citrus Aurantium Dulcis) Oil
Sweet orange oil is uplifting and cheery with warm notes that brightens the senses. Sweet orange oil contains antibacterial properties that aid in cleansing and purifying oily skin. It is oten used to rejuvenate and tone.

Find out more here.

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